Celebrating in style and elegance with Sofia from Finland
Mother of two daughters aged nine and eleven, Sofia and her family of four live in Helsinki during the winters and on an island in the Archipelago during the summer. Founder of the blog Lattemamma and woman of great elegance with a love for party organisation, we admire Sofia's art of celebrating small and big events. This talent seems to come to her so naturally!
We were therefore delighted when she agreed to share about her passion.
Before diving into the the heart of the subject, could you tell us about your blog?
I have been writing a blog called Lattemamma for around 8 years now which started while I was raising my two young girls at home. After returning to work full time I wanted to keep it going. It is my happy place where I can share what inspires me, the beautiful things I find and the little moments that can bring joy to all regardless of where you stand in your life or in the world.
The world of Lattemamma is a peaceful getaway from everyday life, a little breather if you will. That coffee break which leaves you feeling a bit more energised, relaxed or inspired.
How do you bring party to your daily life?
Party planning has always been one of my favourite hobbies. I love hosting dinner parties, children's birthdays and everything in between, be it Valentine's Day, Halloween, Easter, Christmas as well as all our little traditions. I am always the one offering to arrange babyshowers and I even planned a friend's wedding once. It was quite an undertaking but I loved it!
I also like bringing joy to our everyday lives too and making each day special. I have always been a believer in the little things and little moments. Music, flowers and candles are a constant in my life. I grew up with them and and have carried them with me throughout adulthood.
I also appreciate taking time to set the table for weeknight dinners, even if it is a take away. And I never bring food on the table in containers. That's another thing I learned from my mother, it is always so much nicer to set it all out on plates, bowls or platters. It makes all the difference.
I feel like all these little moments are the ones that my children will carry with them in their memories. The bedtime stories read to them and the weeknight dinners by the table as a family. How their childhood looked and felt on a daily basis and not only the parties or the big highlights.
Cooking and baking is very important for me too because it is my way of showing love to my friends and family. If I notice someone feeling down, I like to make their favourite meal. It does not solve it all of course but there is something so comforting about a nice meal around the table with someone you love.
Can you share about some of the best parties you organised?
My very favourites are the girls birthdays which I always share about on my blog to give others inspiration. They are my most popular blog entries. We always have a party for their friends and often a joint one too, with our whole family as their birth date is only a month apart with less than two years between them.
When it comes to the birthdays they host for their friends, I let them choose their own theme and then we start planning together. We begin by building a Pinterest folder to get into the mood and decide on colours.
For instance my younger daughter wanted to have a coffe shop party for her 8th birthday last year. I like the idea but was not fond of the typical black, white and green colors of the big coffee chains. She loves pastels so we did our own version.
We sent out invitations with painted "gift cards". Her big sister and a friend of hers were "cook and waitress" at the coffee shop serving frappuccinos, hot cocoa and delicious treats. The little guest paid with their gift vouchers just like you would pay in a real boutique. We have a large pantry attached to our kitchen so we used the doorway as the counter and set up the desk there, it made it look quite real. The party was a success! All the details are in my blog article "Coffee shop birthday".
Over the years I have hosted a mermaid pool party renting a sauna and pool area and having fun Cotton Candy made mermaid bark , a Belle & Boo cupcake decorating party, a vintage ballerina party with a dreamy pink decor full of tulle, a French style Ladurée themed tea party filled with macarons, a unicorns & cotton candy party, a pyjama party where all the girls slept in our living room floor, a Peter Rabbit one, a Winnie the Pooh party and so many more... You can find more about them all on my blog under "party planning".
But the best of them all may well be a bows and pink sip'n'see. We had just moved to a new house with a two week old baby and another child under two years. I had just barely unpacked everything and I remember decorating the cookie under a spotlight as we had not yet installed proper lighting, attaching edible pearls with tweezers on the dining table while the workers were installing our fridge in the kitchen! I think if you really put your mind to it and enjoy the process, you can have anything accomplished! It does not necessarily need to be very elaborate, lovely memories can be made with little effort, taking juice and cookies for a trip to the woods can be a party too!
Can you share some of your special party traditions?
My friend Susanna (read her article), through whom I discovered Charlotte Sy Dimby, and I, have a long standing tradition of hosting a tea party for our girls and ourselves once a year taking turns. One day we will then take them for tea in the Ritz in Paris and Claridge's in London. By then they should be well versed in a proper tea party etiquette.
We also have a party tradition of bringing breakfast to bed to the birthday girl or boy of the day. I always plan it beforehand and set the tray ready late at night when everyone has gone to bed, to be filled with treats the next morning.
One of my party secrets is my husband who is the best clean up crew ever. I usually take care of the planning and love hosting but his discreet support is essential. He takes guests jackets, fills up glasses and my very favourite part, he is constantly cleaning while the party is going on without people even noticing it. So at the end of the day it´s never mess. We always finish cleaning right after the guests leave. When you are all done, it´s the best feeling to put your feet up, pour yourself a cup of tea or champagne and have a slice of cake. Heaven!
My best advice is to have an empty dishwasher and empty sinks & trash bins when your party starts. It makes all the difference.
Can you share some of your favorite cake recipes?
My best party cake is the pavlova. You will find the recipe the blog Hungry in Helsinki where I share about my love of baking and how it runs in our family.
Another cake I often make is a very simple but delicious strawberries and whipped cream cake, I call it my birthday cake.
A third party favourite are my cupcakes. I enjoy making the vanilla ones following Magnolia Bakery's recipe. I also make delicious chocolate cupcakes but the recipe remains my special little secret as we all must have that one recipe we keep close to our hearts and pass on to our children.
If you like cooking, I have a whole section dedicated to recipes on my blog.
Which Instagram accounts inspire you when it comes to parties?
Table settings are a passion of mine and I love following people with great tablescapes on instagram. My very talented friend has even turned table setting in to a business, Livias Table. Her @liviastable settings are amazing!
Some others I love to follow for their table settings are Max Sinsteden, Aerin Lauder, Charlotte Moss, India Amory & Fiona Leyhy Designs to name a few that come to my mind.
But my very favourite, when it comes to party planning is Darcy Miller. I will never forget being pregnant for the first time and watching her talk about a slumber party she organised for one of her daughters on the Martha Stewart show. I just felt like I had come home... Her cute little girls in their pink nighties with their big pink bows...The thought she had put in to all the little details. I was so inspired and at the same time it all felt so familiar. This was exactly what I had imagined my life would be like with chidlren.
And here we are 11 years later and I can say I am living that dream. Our girls birthday's are coming up and the planning is well on it's way.
Read our Mothers share love and hope from around the world articles
Read our Mothers share from and about France articles
Read our serie on Capturing the magic of childhood
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*All photos are graciously shared by Sofia who took them herself except the portraits which are from Ofer Amir.